Aquaman Review: King of the Seven Seas

Hey Everybody! Welcome to another review from where we entertain food for thought. My name is Ben and I’m the Flickmuncher. We’ve got quite the line up these next few weeks and I’m excited to share the next several reviews with you as well as show off the new collaborative reviews that I’ll be doing for episodes of the 2017 Ducktales TV series with our new contributor Mimi the Flickmunchkin, which should be starting in March. However, until then, let’s take a look at the recent DC movie release, Aquaman.


So let’s get right into it. What’s the story? Arthur Curry (Jason Momoa) was a boy born cursed. The son of a Lighthouse Keeper (Temuera Morrison) and the runaway Queen of the underwater Kingdom of Atlantis (Nicole Kidman), he was blessed with amazing abilities beyond that of normal people. Yet he is constantly split between the surface world that he calls home, and the realm of the sea that calls him to lead it. Uninterested in becoming Atlantis’ king since the death of his mother, Arthur spends his time using his abilities to do good deeds where he can. All this changes however, when his younger half-brother Orm (Patrick Wilson) starts to gather the kingdoms of the seven seas to attack the surface world. With the help of his mother’s old friend Volka (Willem Defoe) and the sea witch, Mera (Amber Heard), Arthur must become the Aquaman to defeat Orm and bring peace to Atlantis and the Surface.

In a switch on how I usually present my reviews, I’m going to cover the negatives first and get to the positives later.
To start things off, let’s look at the villains. First, our main villain, Prince Orm. As superhero villains go, Orm is actually not that bad. He has a connection to the hero, and a personal reason to hate him thanks to their mother’s death—she was executed for her relationship with Arthur’s father and having Arthur. Such brotherly conflict is often rich with drama and works well enough between these two characters. You might be thinking: well that doesn’t sound like a negative to me. And you’d be right. The negative with Orm is that he tends to fall back on the whole “rule the world” cliché and the brotherly conflict isn’t used as fully is it is like with Thor and Loki. This weakness is made more acute by the fact that Orm’s reasons for wanting to attack the surface are rather general and vague, owing to a generic “polluting the oceans” message. Alternatively, he could have blamed the death of his mother on the Surface and used that as his motivation, which would have served his character far better given his attitude toward Arthur and his mother, Queen Atlanna.

Then we have Black Manta, widely regarded by fans as Aquaman’s greatest enemy, who is given a terrific motivation when Arthur chooses not to save his father (a pirate but still a human being) from drowning. But then he basically gets relegated to the position of “hired thug” and gets one quick action scene before getting taken out and promised a sequel by the producers (depending on the box office, of course). If you’re wondering again why this is a bad thing, there’s a reason you don’t have a main bad guy get beaten in his first confrontation with the hero, let alone the second time. It makes that bad guy seem less of a threat to the hero. If he’s already gotten his head handed to him before, why should we as the audience believe that the next time will turn out any differently? We know he won’t have any lasting victory anyway so there’s less of a doubt in our minds about the hero’s chances.

Besides this are a number of smaller things that bugged me. First, the musical score in the film is appropriately epic and sweeping for the majority of the runtime. Which is why it feels so jarring when they play a piece of pop music or rap like “Ocean to Ocean” by Pitbull. It just sounds out of place.
Second, while the drama is good for the most part, there are several moments that felt rushed in order to move the plot forward to fit the runtime (which is already a colossal two hours and twenty-three minutes). For instance, a moment between Arthur and his Mom gets cut extremely short to make way for exposition that leads to the next major plot point. I feel like other scenes that dragged on a little too long, like Manta tinkering with Atlantean tech, could have been trimmed to make more time for scenes like this. It’s not a huge thing, but emotional scenes should always be given time to breathe against scenes that are window dressing, or just there for the sake of being cool.
Lastly, a lot of the jokes that I think were intended to make the movie feel more “marvel-esque” were either mistimed or just fell flat to me, and there were several points in the movie where the CGI—however stylish it was intended to be—just looks a little too plastic and fake, particularly during some of the action sequences.


However, with all of that said, there are a lot of positives about this movie that I did like, starting with the visuals. I’ve made no secret in the past of my dislike for films that needlessly desaturate the color from the picture to make things feel more “dark and edgy”. Color is a wonderful thing when you consider how much richer and more interesting it can make an image that would otherwise seem rather mundane. Other movies from the DC franchise have had an issue with colors in the past to an almost absurd degree. Happily though, Aquaman does not have a problem with color. In fact, it’s one of the most colorful films I’ve seen in awhile particularly during the underwater scenes which take up a lot of the movie. The glowing phosphorescence and wide variety of shades involved helps to make for some truly beautiful images. It also helps the various undersea environments feel like a truly alien environment, which is another strength of this film. It takes advantage of the natural strangeness and mystery of the oceans to make Atlantis feel like an actual underwater city with history. It has different levels with shell based high-rises, a customs and import system, catacombs and ruins beneath it that all combine to feel like an actual underwater city.

This would probably be enough if Atlantis was all we got to see. The filmmakers however, went one step beyond and made several different undersea kingdoms with their own inhabitants and cultures. None of them are as multi-layered or detailed as Atlantis itself, but it shows how much thought the creators put into making this world and that’s something I can appreciate.

Besides this the story is delightfully simple and easy to follow, yet it also has a good familial conflict that makes it a bit more personal. I know this might seem boring and unoriginal to some but there’s a reason that siblings fighting over power, one to preserve, the other to destroy, is such a regularly used trope dating back to ancient times. Because it works and works well. We’ve all had fights with our family. Those fights are often very emotional and very personal and in spite of what Hollywood would like us to believe, our families are not something we can simply choose to ignore. They are a very personal thing for each of us no matter how we feel about them. That’s why stories about them are so powerful for us. Aquaman may not use it as well as some other movies I’ve seen but it’s still done well so I have to applaud the effort if not the result.

Lastly, we have the action which takes advantage of the underwater environment to create some of the more unique looking set pieces that I’ve seen in a movie in quite awhile. Since the characters are buoyant and don’t often walk on the sea floor the battles are very—for lack of a better word—fluid; constantly in motion. Now, if this was lazy motion where the speed was always the same, it would probably get boring. But the movie varies the speed of combat enough to not get stagnant and in the one on one fights Jason Momoa and Patrick Wilson are physical enough actors to be convincing. Overall, the battle sequences are a lot of fun to watch.


CONCLUSION: By this point most people know that the DC movies (or the DCEU as they’re known by fans have not had the best track record for making quality films. In fact, one of my personal least favorite films of all time was 2016’s Batman v Superman, which was a commercial success but a critical flop. I’ve always supported the idea that blockbusters shouldn’t be critically condemned for being blockbusters but that they should also try to be more than just cash grabs for the studios. Whether that’s being a deeper more critically acceptable film, or one that is just plain fun to watch, it should at least try. Aquaman is a film that tries. It may not always succeed when it tries but at least it tries and tries hard. That is one of the best compliments I can give to a film like this, especially given my history with DC movies of the past. I can’t say whether this is the beginning of a new era of DC films with higher quality. But I know that this was a film I was prepared not to like, yet I enjoyed it anyway and look forward to seeing it again sometime.

What did you think of the review? Did you like this film? What parts of it stuck out to you? Let me know all about it on the Flickmuncher Facebook page or in the comments below. Thanks and as always, May the Flick be with You!

Problem Children: Episode 2

Hi Everyone, It’s Flickmunchkin back with the next episode review of Problem Children Coming from Another World.

This episode was definitely informative. It seemed to be more of Kasukabe’s episode, which I was glad for because I didn’t get to hear much at all from her in the 1st episodes, but before we get to her Black Rabbit has some explaining to do. In this episode Sakamki confronts Black Rabbit about why she really wants the three of them, Sakamki, Asuka, and Kasukabe that is, turns out some Communities need some help, which is why Black Rabbit wanted to get to the three first.

Back to Kasukabe, she definitely asserts herself when a character called Galdo Gasper tries to cat fish her and Kudo into his community, then she proved to herself and others that she is stronger then she looks, I can not wait to see how much more we get to know about her..

There is a scene that I absolutely love in this episode, it gives me chills, is the scene where Kasukabe is flying on the Griffin, the art is just amazing and the transitions between present time and flashbacks are great.

I’m afraid there isn’t so much to analyze as there is to relay. The series is just evolving at a good pace for the observer and bringing more magic to each episode, powers and motives are slowly being told, and the characters are on journey to which they seem to be completely fine with(falling into a random world that is).

So, what did you think of the review? Did you agree or disagree with my analysis? What parts stuck out to you? Let me know all about it on facebook or in the comments below. Thanks and as always, May the Flick be with You!

Fantastic Beasts and where to Find Them Review: “Look, Dad, a Deus Ex Machina!”

Hey Everybody! Welcome back to another article from It’s been quite awhile since my last review. My schedule has been really heavily booked so I haven’t been able to see many of the movies that have come and gone since then. Hopefully, I’ll be able to pick up my schedule going forward but I may not get a lot of consistency until April. That said, I will do my best to get articles out on a more regular basis. With that out of the way, let’s jump into this review of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

For those of you who are major fans of the Harry Potter universe—the books and the movies—let me preface this review by stating that my exposure to this world has been pretty minimal. I’ve only seen the movies once before, and I’ve never read the books so I went into this movie as big a Potter-newbie as one could get. So what did I think of this film?

Well, let’s start with the story. Fantastic Beasts takes place in 1927 as a young wizard named Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) arrives in New York City with a suitcase full of magical creatures that he has collected during his journey abroad as the subject of his book, named, well, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. However, magical beasts have apparently been banned in America and when a mix-up causes some of Newt’s creatures to escape, he finds himself teaming up with a non-magical (or “Nomaj” as they’re called in the film) aspiring baker named Jacob Kowalski (Dan Fogler) and local magic regulation officer, Porpentina “Tina” Goldstein, to try and track down the beasts before they endanger all of New York City. Meanwhile, the magic government in New York is dealing with a wizard terrorist named Grindelwald group that is trying to expose magic users to the outside world and incite a war between magic and non-magic people, possibly using a Fantastic Beast to do so.

With that story in mind, what did I like about the film? Well, for starters, I really liked Dan Fogler as Jacob Kowalski. As the only major non-magical character in the film, he brought a heart and relatability to the movie that carried it through some of the more dramatic moments as he saw some of the more bizarre and strange things that J.K. Rowling’s magical world provided. Also, there was a scene with him toward the end of the film that was truly heart-rending to me after seeing everything he had gone through.

Besides Fogler’s performance this movie did a good job of portraying the little details and nuances of this world that it was trying to create, though the politics of said world remain a bit unclear to me. Setting it in the 1920s was also a nice touch as it helps to set the movie apart aesthetically from other movies of a similar character. I’m always a sucker for that era anyway.

Also, the notion of Newt’s suitcase being a Doctor Who-style bigger-on-the-inside menagerie was a fun concept to play with as well and getting to explore that menagerie was as fascinating to witness as you would imagine it would be. The creatures are imaginative and the way they are described legitimately made me want to learn more about them.

So those are the more significant positive points that stood out to me. Hope you enjoyed them because here’s where my Flickmuncher personality comes out and things get much rougher for this movie.

 First, the plot. (Please be aware this section will involve some spoilers) I already gave as quick an overview as I could in my story summary above but even that was a bit of a challenge because this movie seems to be trying to tell two stories that are almost completely unrelated to each other. On the one hand you have Newt and Company’s work to corral the escaped fantastical creatures without endangering the local populace, and on the other you have this shadowy bureaucratic wizard who is searching for yet another child who was prophesied to have great power and could be dangerous to wizards and humans alike. Sidenote: who is coming up with these prophesies? They seriously need to get some lessons on originality.

Anyway, my problem is not that the movie has two stories going on. Plenty of great movies have secondary stories (or subplots as their known in the writing world) but Fantastic Beasts doesn’t seem like it can decide which one takes priority or how they’re even connected and so they end up distracting from each other.

It’s like a child trying to cram two colors of playdough through a hole at the same time, one green, one red. The playdough’ll get through the hole—eventually—but it’ll be neither red nor green. That’s what this movie’s story is like. It has two separate stories that would have been fine individually, but just don’t make a good mix and that falls on the writing. I understand that J.K. Rowling wrote this movie’s screenplay and I know she is considered a master writer by most people but if she gets praised for the good pieces of her work then she’s also responsible for the bad. Also, there’s a “twist” at the end with Colin Farrell’s bad guy that left me scratching my head wondering, “What in the world was that?”

            Of course, a poor story can be forgiven if the characters are interesting and enjoyable and up above I did praise the movie’s portrayal of Jacob Kowalski as one of its significant strong points due to his down-to-earth likeability as a guy whose just trying to open up a bakery. However, none of the other characters matched that level of interest for me and the biggest offender by far, is Newt Scamander. Which is a shame, because the concept for him—a zookeeper wizard who collects rare creatures—is actually very interesting and fraught with possibilities. But the movie never really goes anywhere with those concepts. We know that he fought in the magical version of World War I, and he had a lady love that he broke up with but neither of those things are explored to any depth either, nor do we find out WHY Newt does what he does other than that he wants to protect magical creatures from humans. WHY does he want to protect them? Does he relate more to the animals than his own kind? What made him this way? Was it the war? A traumatic childhood experience? What?

            Compounding this problem is Eddie Redmayne’s casting as Newt which I have to reference because I thought this was a terrible performance. I know that Redmayne won an Oscar last year for The Theory of Everything but he also won a Razzie award that same year for a role in Jupiter Ascending and a lot of that latter movie is on display in his performance here. He plays things so understated, nervous, and mumbling that it’s hard to hear what he’s saying at times. Plus something I noticed towards the end is that he keeps the same neutral quasi-sad expression throughout the entire movie. He only smiles twice, and he never gives an expression denoting fear, anger or any other significant emotion and, I’m sorry, if he want’s me as an audience member to buy that he’s an actual person and not some cardboard protagonist cutout, then he’s got to have the emotions of an actual person.

            Now, the stories and characters of movies might not matter that much to you, so what about the cool visuals. Well, some of the visuals are cool as I mentioned above but they’re smattered throughout a movie that has a very drab, grey color palette and is overall uninteresting to look at—which I could understand if they were trying to visually distinguish the magic world from the real world—but there’s little to no difference between them which just makes what’s happening on screen feel boring and that’s something you should never feel in a fantasy movie like this.

            Finally, the crowning jewel of this tirade is one of my personal pet peeves as a writer and a movie fan. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the Status Quo! For those unfamiliar with the term, Status Quo refers to the need for the world to return to the state it was in when the story began, no matter what happened during the story or who was affected by it. In this case, the Wizarding World is secret at the beginning of the movie but outed by the end of the climax, setting up an interesting new world in which Wizards and non-Wizards (and no I will not call them Nomaj’s or Muggles) have to figure out how to coexist together. Sounds fun, right?

Well, instead of that interesting option the writers (cough) J.K. Rowling (cough) choose to just wipe everyone’s memories that the whole thing ever happened and returns the world completely back to the Status Quo, at least until the four sequels that Warner Bros. has planned out for Fantastic Beasts.  Which leads me to ask, is this going to happen after each sequel? Even if it doesn’t, if the writers don’t care about what happened in their movie, why should they expect us to?

Conclusion: Whoo. Well…, now that I’ve gotten the Flickmuncher out of my system and simultaneously ticked off probably every Harry Potter fan who is reading this post, let me say that in spite of all its faults, I don’t hate this film. It may sound like I do but that’s mostly because I see so many places it could have gone but didn’t. I’m not a Potter fan and I will probably never be one but I love movies and I love the places that they can take you. I want to see more inspired visuals, more interesting characters, more important stories. These are what make movies, movies. Which is why it’s so disappointing to me when I see movies that “play it safe” and refuse to take risks and do new things. For those of you who love the books, I understand wanting to see a faithful adaptation of that book you love. But you already have that story in your mind. Don’t imprison a film within its source material. Let it try to be its own thing. And you know what? It might not give you what you wanted, but it might also give you what you didn’t know you wanted. And I look forward to the movie that does that.

Final Score: Rainy Day Rental

So, assuming you don’t plan to kill me for writing this, what did you think of the review? Did you agree or disagree with my analysis? What parts stuck out to you? Let me know all about it on facebook or in the comments below. Thanks and as always, May the Flick be with You!

Willow: Champion of little people everywhere!

Hey Everybody!

Welcome to another review from I apologize for taking so long to write a new review but things have been absolutely crazy for me lately with a lot of moving around happening. When July hits I should be back to a more regular schedule. In the meantime, here’s a review of an old 80s classic, Willow.

To be clear, there won’t be any spoilers in this review beyond the basic plot synopsis and a few necessary details.

Willow Ufgood (Warwick Davis) is a simple Nelwyn (dwarf) farmer who only wants to look out for his wife and children, even though he aspires to one day be a great sorcerer like the High Aldwin of his village. However, his life is turned upside down when his children come across a Daikini (human) baby girl in the river nearby. It turns out the baby is the key to a prophecy and will bring about the downfall of the evil Queen Bavmorda. When Bavmorda’s agents come looking for her though, Willow sets off on an adventure to bring the little girl to safety with the help of roguish warrior Madmartigan (Val Kilmer), so she can one day save the realm.

This movie does have a lot of problems. The effects are really dated, there are annoying side characters, some of whom make snap decisions without much prior build-up, and at times the movie can have a rather silly tone. With all that said, I still think that this is one of the most fun fantasy movies I’ve ever had the chance to see and a lot of that comes from the story and the world that you find yourself in when you allow yourself to just sit back and enjoy the ride.

A lot of that comes from the texture of the film. In modern movies, filmmakers seem to have a notion that in order for a movie to be classified as a fantasy it has to have unnatural and fantastic creatures that can only be created by CGI. But back in 1988 when this movie was made, the filmmakers didn’t yet have those same advantages. They had stuff like rotoscoping to make things glow (the same technique used for lightsabers) and they could make monsters seem to actually be there using animation, but for the most part they were limited to simple camera tricks and editing for their effects. This forced them to be more creative about how they built their worlds, instead relying on engaging writing and characters to draw the audience in.

Such is the case with Willow where the enjoyment and immersion come from our desire to see the humble, yet plucky hero accomplish his mission; a desire which is only possible because the character is unique and interesting. Warwick Davis, now an acting legend for his roles in such things as the Leprechaun and Harry Potter franchises, gets his first major role here as the titular hero and he makes the most of it, giving Willow Ufgood an everyman feel that many movie heroes wish they had. It’s easy to make your hero a paragon who can do no wrong but Willow feels like an actual person who has to make tough choices like leaving his family, all for an unknown purpose. This also applies to Madmartigan who starts as a rather untrustworthy character when we first meet him, but he’s not unlikeable. This makes his change into a champion of good (big surprise there) more convincing.

In addition, the Nelwyn village only engrosses you further. Compared to something like the Munchkin town from Wizard of Oz, this pulls you into the experience because of how it feels like a living, breathing community filled with real people. And while it has some of the usual stereotypes (the bully, the faithful best friend, the wise old leader) it doesn’t delve into those so much that they become boring.

This extends to the rest of the world. Even though we only see so much of this place and it’s never shown on a map, it feels like a place you could believe in with a wide variety of climates ranging from forest, to icy mountains, to the black dead land where Bavmorda’s citadel is.

Admittedly there are some things that don’t work so well. Queen Bavmorda is not really that intimidating as a villain. Jean Marsh who plays her, does a perfectly serviceable job in the part but I personally never found her to be that frightening. She has a hulking henchman who uses a skull for a mask and he is much more intimidating. I think he would have worked better as the primary villain but that’s just me. Also her daughter Sorcha, who is set up as a major secondary villain for the larger part of the film, has one of the quickest heel-turns to the side of good that I’ve ever seen. Not saying that it’s a huge problem but it is a bit head-scratching.

Now we come to the two Brownies, little mouse sized men that talk in loud squeaky voices and travel with Willow after he is given his mission to take the little girl to safety. A word of warning, if you have a hard time with sidekick characters that exist only to provide comedy, then you are going to really, really, reeeaallly hate these two. They were Jar Jar Binks before Jar Jar Binks. They add nothing to the plot, their characters never change, and every time they show up you will likely be counting the seconds until the movie cuts to the more important stuff. Fortunately, their moments don’t last long enough to ruin the movie.

Conclusion: I’d heard about this movie via my mom for a long time. She really likes it. But for whatever reason, I only just discovered it in the last few weeks. And let me tell you, it doesn’t disappoint. It’s a fun fantasy adventure with unique interesting characters and a story that provides a nice twist to the ‘chosen one’ storyline. If you like 80s fantasy, or just enjoy fun popcorn flicks with an edgier feel than Disney, I’d highly recommend giving this one a look.

For those of you who’ve already seen this movie, what did you think of it? Did you like it or were you disappointed? Let me know in the comments section below or let me know on twitter or facebook. Have a great week and as always, May the Flick be with You!

Star Wars-Rogue One: Jyn Erso is NOT Rey’s Mother?

Hey Everyone!

Welcome to a special edition of I LOVE STAR WARS! One of the greatest and most enduring cinematic sagas to ever grace the silver screen, George Lucas’ space fantasy has informed the last three generations of America and its influence is present everywhere. This is especially true with the arrival of a new cast of heroes in the recent film Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The main character, a scavenger girl named Rey, has been a subject of much interest in both geek and non-geek circles due in large part to her mysterious parentage. While a number of candidates have been put forward, Luke Skywalker chief among them, a new contender has come forward in the form of Jyn Erso, a young woman played by actress Felicity Jones (as seen below on the left), who is the main character of the new Star Wars film, Rogue One coming out this December. A lot has been made of the possibility of Jyn Erso being Rey’s mother and having a larger significance to the Star Wars galaxy as a whole. However, some people don’t seem to like this idea and one blogger at provided a list of reasons that Jyn is NOT Rey’s mother.

flickmuncher Jyn Rey's mother cover photo

If you’d like to read the full reasons in the list; click the link here.

I personally am a major advocate of this theory so I would like to offer my two cents as to why these 11 reasons aren’t necessarily valid and why the theory makes sense. This is my personal take on why Jyn Erso is Rey’s mother:

  1. Their Ages. While Felicity Jones is indeed 32 years old, she has played multiple roles where her character is much younger, ranging from teens to early and late twenties. Given that fact and also that Disney seems to like keeping their heroes in the tweens demographic it’s not impossible that Jyn could have had Rey while in her thirties, a common thing nowadays. The entire argument is predicated on the assumption that an actress always plays her age and, as we all know, assumptions just make an ass out of you and me.
  2. The Timeline. Just because Jyn is not present in the original trilogy doesn’t mean she wasn’t involved in the rebellion through that time. Furthermore, it was made clear in Canon material (e.g. the novelization of The Force Awakens) that Supreme Leader Snoke of the First Order is borderline obsessed with Darth Vader’s lineage, the most powerful force-sensitives in the galaxy, which is why he corrupted Ben Solo. If Rey was in fact Luke’s child, and a good deal of evidence (circumstantial as it is) points in that direction, it’s possible that Snoke was after Rey even before he corrupted Ben into Kylo Ren, and that Jyn had to take extreme measures to protect her.
  3. We don’t know if Jyn survives Rogue One. This is the only point that I don’t have a direct answer for because…we don’t know if she survives and we won’t until Rogue One comes out in December. That being said this is still Lucasfilm under the Disney banner. I’ve never known Disney to go for downer endings in any of their movies, or to kill off their main characters regularly. This isn’t Game of Thrones here, so I honestly don’t expect Jyn to die by the time the credits roll. While I do think most of her team will be wiped out (probably by Darth Vader himself)I believe she’ll survive to the end credits.
  4. Jyn is not force-sensitive like Rey. This is conjecture and based on the logic that being a Jedi and being force-sensitive are the same thing when…they’re really not. It’s like this: all Jedi are force-sensitive (that’s kind of a necessary trait for that line of work, like how people who can see make better snipers), but not all force-sensitives are Jedi. Jedi are a philosophical, quasi-religious order, sort of like Shaolin Monks. They aren’t born as Jedi. They have to be trained to become that. Furthermore, Rey’s amazing force-sensitivity could just as easily be answered by her being both Jyn and Luke’s daughter where her ability comes from her Skywalker lineage.
  5. No Skywalker Connection. This one’s pretty silly by most standards. As far as Luke and Jyn meeting, it’s possible that they did meet during the Rebellion years and we were just never shown it. I’ve heard of couples who got together, got married and had kids, years, even decades, after they first met. Plus, war is a crazy time and who knows where Luke and Jyn’s lives were at after Endor and the fall of the Empire. Luke had the responsibility of rebuilding the Jedi and Jyn may have been off doing all sorts of special ops work for the New Republic. Also this point seems to be operating under the assumption that I already addressed in point 1 and is invalid for the same reasons. Even if Jyn is older than Luke that doesn’t count for much. Padme was five years older than Anakin when they were married. Just sayin’.
  6. Rogue One is a Standalone movie. Technically, yes, Rogue One is a standalone movie but to use the Marvel universe as an example: Ant-Man is a Standalone movie, Captain America was a Standalone movie, Iron Man was a Standalone movie. Yet they all are part of the same universe and you see that connecting tissue in how they reference each other. They all showed their own stories with their own characters without being directly adherent to a larger story. By that logic Rogue One isn’t a standalone at all. It’s completely dependent on the narrative that’s already been established in Episode IV to give it the weight it needs. If Episode IV didn’t exist, this movie wouldn’t be about a group of rebels stealing the plans to this world-destroying weapon. It would be about them actually, you know, DESTROYING the damn thing (pardon my French).

The other thing is that all the other Star Wars ‘Standalone’s’ that have been announced are tied directly to the Episodes. Han Solo, Boba Fett, an Obi-Wan Kenobi trilogy(where they go with that I have no idea); they all deal with subject matter and characters that are connected to the Saga. No movie is an island, especially not in a galaxy far, far away.

  1. It’s too expected. This is grasping at straws and personally I’m sick of this particular argument. Just because a story beat is expected doesn’t mean it can’t be interesting or fun to see play out. As for Rey and Jyn looking alike, yes. Daisy Ridley and Felicity Jones do look a lot alike. Eerily so in fact. Star Wars casting directors seem to have a habit of casting brown-haired, brown/hazel-eyed actresses in the female leads. They’ve even done it with some of the side characters.

To use the words of the immortal Leroy Jethro Gibbs, “I don’t believe in coincidences”. That goes double for these massive film franchises where every detail is so scrutinized by the fans. The studios know this. They aren’t oblivious of the fans and Lucasfilm especially has proven that multiple times. So either someone really needs to diversify on their casting choices or something fishy is going on here.

As for it being a red herring, that’s always possible but is it good to play with the fans like this? Do it too much and you start to lose out on potential story opportunities that work with the narrative just for the sake of a shocking surprise.

  1. There are no clues in The Force Awakens. Why would there be? The Force Awakens is Rey’s story not Jyn’s and if you ask me “what about all that evidence pointing to Luke?” I will tell you this: The Force Awakens is Episode VII and Lucasfilm head Kathleen Kennedy has made very clear that the Episodes are a Skywalker story (this lends to the theory that Rey is in fact, Luke’s daughter, but I digress). Episode VII didn’t introduce Rey’s parents because we needed to get to know her, Finn, BB-8 and the other characters first. Jyn hasn’t been established as a character yet. If there had been clues, if there had been references to Jyn in the movie, it probably would have gone over all our heads or would have taken the focus off of Rey. So why put clues to Jyn in a movie that she really has no part of?
  2. Not Everyone has to be connected. This is another argument I keep seeing and you wouldn’t believe how much it irks me. It also connects into the whole “they’re making the universe smaller if they make Rey’s parents someone we know” debate and I’m calling bologna on both.

First off, not everyone is connected in these movies. In fact, almost no one is. For all the evidence and fan theories that are out there, Rey, Finn, Poe are, as of right now, unrelated to ANYONE from the original trilogy. It’s implied that Rey is somehow connected to the Skywalker lineage but the only person with confirmed blood ties to the previous movies is the villain, Kylo Ren. And making Jyn Rey’s mom is one connection. One. No one is arguing to make Chewbacca, Wicket the Ewok’s uncle, or Finn to be Lando’s son. Now, if there do turn out to be all these connections then I think this concern will be warranted. But in this case I think making that connection makes sense in the context of the overall story.

Second, making Jyn turn out to be Rey’s mother is not something that I think shrinks the universe. Much as the fans moan and groan about this, I’d rather have good stories with characters that I care about in a smaller setting than a massive galaxy with lots of characters I don’t know at all. More characters doesn’t necessarily mean better characters. In addition, if it were revealed that Jyn was Rey’s mom in perhaps, Episode VIII or XI then that reveal would be much more impactful to us as fans because we could see who Rey’s mom was beyond being just “Rey’s Mom”. It’s the same with Rey in Episode VII and why I’m glad they didn’t tell us who she was then. If they had told us that she was Luke’s daughter or Han’s daughter right from the get go, I don’t think she would have been as much of a hit with us fans because we’d all just see Rey as ‘the daughter of ___’ instead of a character in her own right.

  1. Other’s would know. Who said they didn’t? For all we know, Han and Leia might have known the truth about Rey’s parentage the whole time. It was definitely implied in The Force Awakens that Han had at least some idea of Rey’s identity. On the other hand, who said they did know? Running under the theory that Luke is Rey’s father, it could have been he never told anyone about his relationship with Jyn. He was rather reclusive after all (according to Star Wars: Bloodline at any rate) and it’s possible that if Jyn had Rey she might never even have told Luke about her. The fact is, we still don’t know. The circumstances of how and why Rey was left on Jakku in the first place remain unclear so this isn’t really a reason for Jyn being or not being her mom at all. We’re not shown or told everything in The Force Awakens so we don’t really know what Han and Leia knew or didn’t know. Until the aforementioned circumstances are revealed, this one’s off the table as an argument for either side so far as I’m concerned.
  2. Daisy Ridley said she’s not. This comes from a quote by Daisy Ridley at the MTV movie awards where she was asked about the Jyn = Rey’s Mother theory and her answer was, “just because she’s white and got brown hair…it doesn’t mean she’s my mom.” While many, including the original writer of this list, saw this as confirmation that Jyn is NOT Rey’s mother, I myself am a little more hesitant to accept this as a fact.

Daisy’s quote, while not encouraging the fan-theory, is not an outright denial either. This is something that you would expect her to say, especially given the attention to secrecy by the Lucasfilm PR department. Fan-theories keep people talking about the movie and its characters, whether they’re true or not. If Jyn is Rey’s mother they obviously wouldn’t want Daisy Ridley to spoil that reveal but if Jyn is not Rey’s mom then it cools down that fan-theory and likewise some of the excitement for Rogue One. Rogue One is definitely connected to Episode IV but the fact is that Episode IV, as much as we fanboys love it, is not the freshest thing on casual audiences minds. That would be Episode VII.

In addition the biggest demographic for Star Wars is kids and young adults who are probably more familiar now with Rey, Finn and Kylo Ren than they are with Luke Skywalker, Han Solo and Darth Vader who they know primarily from their parents. If Rogue One is connected somehow to Episode VII then it will have a larger base to draw on and the studios know this which is why they wouldn’t deny this theory outright even if it wasn’t true. In that light, taking Ridley’s quote as gospel is not something I can do because it’s just neither here nor there.


So that is my personal, rather long-winded response to the question of  “is Jyn Erso, Rey’s Mother”? I think I’ve made my feelings rather clear. But you know what? I could be dead wrong. It could be that all of this will be blown out the window when we finally see the movie in its full glory. This just makes it more exciting to see what happens next in that Galaxy Far, Far Away that we all love so much. What are your thoughts on this theory? Do you disagree? Why? Let me know in the comments below or on facebook and twitter.


Have a great weekend and as always, May the Flick be with You!

The Huntsman – Winter’s War: “How are you alive?”

Assessment: Rental Worthy

Hey, Everyone! Welcome to another movie review from! Today we’re going to be looking at another current release that hasn’t been receiving a lot of attention, The Huntsman: Winter’s War. The sequel to 2012’s Snow White and the Huntsman, a modest hit when it came out, this movie was about as anticipated as you can imagine any generic fantasy not named Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter being…which is to say, not at all. So why am I reviewing it then? Because I’m a completely shameless sucker for said generic fantasy movies. So let’s get into it.

WARNING – There will be spoilers in this review. Continue reading at your own risk. Unless you don’t care about spoilers in which case you’ve already ignored this WARNING.

The story of this movie is a little tricky starting off with the first twenty to thirty minutes detailing the backstory of the Huntsmen. Not the Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth), but Huntsmen, plural. It turns out that back when they were children, they were all kidnapped by the evil Ice Queen Freya (Emily Blunt) to fight her wars and serve as the ultimate soldiers. To make sure that her Huntsmen remain completely loyal to her Freya, get this, completely outlaws love. I don’t know if this just applied to the Huntsmen or to the entire kingdom—which creates a whole host of practical problems—but she does this because of her own backstory where she lost her infant child in a fire and discovered she has ice powers. Oh, and it also turns out that she’s the Evil Queen Ravenna (Charlize Theron)’s younger sister. Go figure.

Anyway, it turns out that outlawing love among soldiers where there are both boys and girls is slightly difficult to enforce because our hero falls in love and marries one of his redhead female comrades named Sara (Jessica Chastain). Needless to say, the Ice Queen isn’t very happy about this and so has Sara killed and the Huntsman left for dead in an icy river.

Cut to several years later, after the events of Snow White and the Huntsman, where the Huntsman is asked by Snow White, or rather Prince Charming I guess since Snow White never actually appears, to go and escort the Evil Queen’s magic mirror to this vaguely safe place called Sanctuary. But his past begins to catch up with him as the Ice Queen also wants the mirror and is willing to do anything to get it. With the help of a couple of dwarves, because this exists in the Snow White movie and there have to be dwarves helping out our protagonist, the Huntsman sets off to stop the Ice Queen from using the mirror to take over the kingdom.

Story-wise, this plot isn’t bad. After all its a common thing in fiction and movies to have a sequel show a new villain that has a beef with the hero because of the previous villain. This movie takes that and adds a further connection between the Huntsman and the Ice Queen by having her treat the huntsmen as her surrogate children. That’s an interesting twist and it explains a lot of her motivation and her actions for much of the film.

Where the movie stumbles is in its execution of those elements. Great ideas inhabit every film but if they aren’t presented well then to the audience, its as if they never existed. Freya’s backstory of losing her child and it driving her mad is an interesting, if often-used, idea. But when you introduce people to parts of a character is as important as what it is you’re introducing them to. Instead of introducing the audience to Freya’s character slowly and allowing us to see what makes her who she is, the movie gives it to us in one long bout of exposition. I’ll get to the exposition in a minute, but that’s such a waste of a great idea that was never followed through on.

The same goes for the idea of the Mirror itself being possessed somehow and for the Huntsman and his wife, Sara. If you saw the first movie you already know that his wife was supposedly dead and he was a man without a country, so to speak. That could have made his remembering her and her subsequent return from the dead very compelling drama. But instead they give us exposition about the two of them at the beginning so that her return isn’t the least bit surprising or interesting, to us as the audience because we already know their history and what separated them. It’s just poor execution on what could have been some very interesting ideas.

In addition to this it adds in Charlize Theron as the Evil Queen Ravenna at the end as the movie’s “final boss”. I love Charlize Theron’s work and I’ll be singing her praises here soon but her presence in the story completely undercuts Freya as the movie’s villain. Its a simple unspoken logic that if you have a villain in one movie, then the sequel should have a villain that is equally if not more dangerous for the hero to overcome. This takes that in the completely wrong direction. Freya goes from first string baddie to second fiddle in the course of a few minutes after spending the majority as the main antagonist for our heroes. That’s a huge problem when you’re trying to provide a major challenge for our heroes.

I mentioned the exposition at the beginning because its a huge part of what I don’t like about this movie. Liam Neeson plays the role of the Narrator in this section and it sounds like he’s narrating a segment on the Conspiracy Show Channel That Used To Be About History—or is that the actual History Channel? At any rate, the exposition in this movie is utterly awful. It tells us things that we could have easily learned just by seeing these characters interact together and speaks to lazy or rushed writing. That is one of the worst plagues in all of Hollywood and one of my personal pet peeves. SHOW, DON’T TELL!

This movie does deserve some credit though. Some of the landscapes, creatures, and places that are visited in it are dripping with color and imagination even though they are CGI. The phrase “its too CGI” is tossed around a lot but in a day and age when filmmakers use CGI that goes by so fast you barely see it, or hardly use color at all, I found these moments both welcome and refreshing.

The cast should be applauded as well given what they have to work with in this movie. I mentioned Charlize Theron and she’s allowed to be deliciously evil once again in the role of Ravenna, chewing scenery left and right.

Chris Hemsworth is also great as the titular Huntsman. He has a huge amount of confidence and charm to him that makes him the sort of hero that you could see yourself following even if you didn’t know what his plan was. It’s that old-school Errol Flynn-like feel to his performances that makes me wish I could see him in better films. Maybe he should consider getting a new agent.

Emily Blunt brings the amount of grace and hardness that one would expect an actress of her caliber would bring to a character like the Ice Queen but I was disappointed that she didn’t get a lot of moments to stretch her acting legs.

Then there are the Dwarves. These guys are by far the highlight of this entire movie for me. I was laughing regularly whenever they were on screen. The jokes they brought to the table were consistently funny and helped bring a lot of heart and levity to a movie that could’ve easily become too grim to be taken seriously. I could watch a movie of just Chris Hemsworth and those Dwarves sitting around a table talking for two hours. That’s how good they are.

Oddly enough the one part of the cast that doesn’t really stand out to me is Jessica Chastain as Sara. There’s nothing particularly wrong with her performance. It’s just she doesn’t bring anything special to that role. It’s…forgettable. Which is probably the worst thing anyone can say about any performance.


At one point in the movie one character says to another, “How are you alive?” My sister, who I went to see this movie with, leaned over to me and said sarcastically “I think that’s the prevailing question.” I think a lot of people will agree with her, not just about what’s in the movie but about the movie itself.

How is it alive? As I said before, Snow White and the Huntsman was a modest success but it wasn’t a blockbuster. The worst thing about this movie is that there wasn’t really much need for it to be made.

That being said however, I do like a lot of the elements that were put into this film. It’s well done technically and a lot people worked really hard to put it together. Its no Lord of the Rings but I can’t say I wasn’t entertained by it which is more than I can say for some other fantasy movies I’ve seen. And really, that’s what a movie is supposed to do. Some films do it better than others but for what I paid for, I don’t regret buying a ticket to this one. If you see it in a rental box sometime, I’d check it out.

Have you seen this movie? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below or tell me on twitter @Lightwielder524. In the meantime, have a great week and May the Flick be with You!

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